A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:
DENNIS LEE AND TIM PORTH OCTANE FITNESS
Title: Lee, CEO; Porth, executive vice president for marketing and product development
Age: Lee, 52; Porth, 47
Octane Fitness founders Dennis Lee and Tim Porth said the Brooklyn Park-based company's acquisition by Vancouver, Wash.-based Nautilus Inc. in a $115 million deal announced earlier this month came sooner than they had expected.
Octane began hearing from potential partners early last year, Lee said. But he and Porth, who launched Octane in 2001, weren't sure the company was ready. Nautilus insisted on talking, however, and some six months later, the deal closed.
"What's really cool about this one is we can look our people and our customers in the eye and say this is going to be a good thing for you," Lee said.
The companies fit culturally and have complementary strengths in distribution: Nautilus in consumer direct, sporting goods and mass merchant retail, and Octane in specialty retail, commercial and international sales, Lee said.
Octane's offerings in what it terms zero-impact exercise equipment contributed to Nautilus' interest, Lee said. Octane recently introduced a new Zero Runner machine and began shipping the XT-One, a cross-trainer that offers walking, running, hiking and climbing on one machine.
While their titles will change under Nautilus, Lee said he and Porth would continue doing what they have been doing at Octane. No employees will move between the companies.
"One thing they said is our company isn't broken, so there's no need to fix it," Porth said. "They like our growth trajectory and products, and there are things that we'll be able to do together that will be really good."
Q: What made Octane an attractive target for acquisition?
Lee: Not to be too cocky, but we've had some great innovations coming out of the company. That's what all parties are looking for, new innovations that are going to create growth, and we've had a number of those.
Q: What opportunities does the acquisition present for Octane?
Lee: Longer term what we're really excited about are crossover opportunities. Nautilus, with Nautilus, Bowflex, TreadClimber and Schwinn has done an incredible job of innovation. Are there ideas we can carry through to our channels and then vice versa? Over time I think there's a huge opportunity for the combination.
Q: Were you surprised that an acquisition came about at this point?
Lee: I wouldn't say surprised, although the timing was a little different than we had planned. We frankly thought we were a little early to do something like this going into 2015. But they still wanted to talk.
Porth: The timing was good for them also. They're doing well, and so they're looking to diversify.